The Day-Care Scare

Day-Care Credibility Gap

After being widely praised in 1978 for writing a scholarly essay contending that there was no credible scientific evidence substantiating claims that developmental risks were associated with day care, I virtually got my professional head ripped off 20 years ago when the same evidence-based mind called attention to "a slow steady trickle of disconcerting (new) evidence" linking long hours in nonmaternal care beginning early in life with elevated rates of insecure attachment and levels of aggression. Ever since, whenever I call attention to such politically incorrect research findings, I am routinely dismissed as just another misogynist wanting to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. Yet now that those unpopular observations have proven more insightful than brain-dead and claims that any and all negative effects of day care are a function of low-quality care have proven wrong, Nina Shapiro [in "The Day-Care Scare," Oct. 5] employs pejorative terms to characterize only me ("sharp-tongued," "bad boy").

While it would be a fundamental mistake to claim that child-care effects are large—and what credible child developmentalist ever proposed that they would be?—those detected in the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development study are more or less dismissed by Shapiro despite applying to the majority of children growing up in America today. Does anyone really know what happens to a society when so many children spend so long, beginning at such young ages, in child care that is anything but high quality? I know I don't, but I also know that many of those saying "not to worry" are the very same ones who claimed adverse effects of day care would not materialize in the first place and that the benefits of good quality child care would be extensive. Might it be time to resurrect that old Vietnam War–era phrase "credibility gap"?

Jay Belsky

Director, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Social Issues

Birkbeck, University of London

London, England

Studying Hard

Nina Shapiro's article on the NICHD Study of Early Child Care was one of the best I've read ["The Day-Care Scare," Oct. 5]. It was very well researched and written. I'm a research assistant with the study at the Kansas site; I'm the only research assistant left who has been with the study from the beginning (that anyone can think of, anyway). I did the child-care observations at our site, starting when the study kids were 6 months old, and it's hard to believe I'm getting ready to observe them as 15-year-olds. It was an interesting time in my life—I would take my kids to day care in order to go out and observe day cares for the study. I remember visiting with my children's caregivers and ticking off scores in my head for things like sensitivity, responds to vocalizations, and stimulates social skills.

Shapiro's descriptions of the detail in our manuals was right on, and she may be the first journalist to mention that aspect. I remember singing the Jeopardy theme song in order to time how long kids washed their hands, and keeping track of five different caregivers at once. We have felt at times that being a research assistant on this study is maybe secretly a study in itself!

Michelle Knoll

University of Kansas

Lawrence, KS

Hit the Streets

Geov Parrish really let Billy and Suzie Sixpack off the hook with his article on the latest Seattle antiwar protest ["They Protest Too Much," Oct. 5]. I've had similar discussions with friends who were ostensibly antiwar as to why they never get out there and do anything about it. They typically say, "Oh, I don't want to be associated with those crazy radicals who are always protesting stuff." But what were they doing instead on the day of the big protest? Calling their congresspeople? Organizing a local study group? Creating their own yard signs against the war? No! They were watching TV, sipping lattes, and yakking on cell phones. Let's face it, when it comes to national politics, most Americans (even lefty Seattleites) are just plain lazy. And I'm afraid Parrish's article may have encouraged them in that attitude, by suggesting that until protest marches become as pleasant and nonconfrontational as a stroll in the park, ordinary people are justified in staying home. Hogwash!

To every middle-class Seattleite who claims to be against the war but who wouldn't be caught dead at a protest march, I say that it's time for you to understand some hard truths: Shutting down this war (and future wars) will not be easy, and you are going to have to get way out of your comfort zone if you expect to have any effect. You are going to have to publicly confront your own president, as well as a large number of other Americans who may consider you a traitor. People may be yelling at you. The police will be glaring at you. They may even arrest you. Is that process likely to resemble a stroll in the park? Hardly.

You are also going to have to mingle with people who don't look, think, or act like you do.That doesn't mean you have to rip up your clothes and carry a radical placard. It does mean, however, that you will have to be in the same march with some people who do. It's either that or organize your own action, like Cindy Sheehan did. But if you don't want to do anything besides complain, and vote Democrat every four years, then don't spill your latte fretting about whether you're having an impact, because you're not.

David Preston


False Memory Syndrome?

I suggest that in the future you do a little fact checking on your stories before you publish them. Charles R. Cross' comments about me in his interview are wholly fabricated and almost libelous [Jukebox Jury, "Ain't No Telling," Oct. 5]. I would go into detail and take it apart piece by piece and point out what is incorrect and what is fantasy, but it would probably be a waste of time. In the future, I suggest you either check with me first to verify the story or entirely refrain from mentioning me in any derogatory way. I expected better quality journalism from the Weekly.

Art Chantry

St. Louis, MO

No Messiah

Wait a minute. We are being asked to accept Charles R. Cross as a serious music journalist. But he fails to identify Ray Charles, Elmore James, Funkadelic, and Tori Amos [Jukebox Jury, "Ain't No Telling," Oct. 5]. And his comment about Jimi Hendrix being "too black for the white audience" makes no sense. Who does he think was buying all those records and concert tickets?

But the real howler is his ignorance of the late Roy Buchanan. His nickname was not "the messiah." However, one of his most famous tracks was "The Messiah Will Come Again." Roy was a guitar hero. Among his famous fans were Robbie Robertson, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. He was even asked to join the Rolling Stones but turned them down.

Dan Rowe


The Tacoma Sound

I was sorry to see Charles R. Cross pass along incorrect information when he said, "The Sonics are my single most favorite Seattle band of all time" [Jukebox Jury, "Ain't No Telling," Oct. 5]. The Sonics were from Tacoma, as were the Wailers—now more commonly known as the Fabulous Wailers to differentiate them from Bob Marley's band. The Sonics played several of our school dances at Bellarmine Prep in 1967–68.

As someone who grew up in Tacoma, this is particularly galling. Tacoma was always the orphan child to Seattle; and it seems the idea that Tacoma could have generated two of the greatest bands in Northwest rock history just seems unbelievable to Seattleites. The Sonics and the Wailers were Tacoma bands. The Wailers' kind of gritty, working-class blues-based music was representative of the scene there in the 1960s. And the Sonics' unique sound could only have come from a city with the angst of 1960s Tacoma.

Terry Parkhurst


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